Time Magazine Staffers Treated to a Return of the Bar Cart

Revival of 1960s tradition helps mark end of the Rockefeller Center era.

In the early 1960s, when mad men ruled Madison Ave. and Time magazine’s “Man of the Year” honors were bestowed on presidents, the Pope and Martin Luther King Jr., a bow-tie-wearing bartender would wheel through the publication’s offices on a weekly basis, serving up drinks. As a nod to the end of the magazine’s run at the Time and Life building, that tradition was delightfully revived.

From the top of today’s New York Daily News Confidenti@l column:

Staff celebrated the final close in their old offices Wednesday by hiring a bartender to push a bar cart to each desk as they put the issue to bed… Confidenti@l is told that senior managers booked the bow-tie-clad bartender to fix drinks for editors and reporters as a nod to the good old days in the ’60s, when it was a weekly ritual.

There’s also plenty of nostalgia on the time.com website. Perusing “The 13 Most Interesting Artifacts Inside the Time Inc. Archives,” it’s hard not to see the “pony” editions of Time put out for soldiers in the trenches of World War II as an unintended harbinger of things to come. These smaller-sized issues were stripped of ads.

In the companion feature “The 7 Most Fascinating Letters From the Time Inc. Archives,” there’s a great Sept. 20, 1956 missive to the editors from Tennessee Williams, responding to a review of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof:

I propose that writers concerned with honesty are more likely to be honest than those who are not concerned with it, and I would like to see a list of those works that Dean Fitch approves along with those that he condemns, it would be more fully instructive.

A few years ago, to celebrate Time’s 85th anniversary, the magazine culled some of the most memorable covers from each decade. Looking at the ones selected for the 1960s, it’s striking how many were illustrations rather than photographs.